Seth Ford is a partner in the firm’s Labor and Employment practice. On behalf of clients ranging from startups to Fortune 100 Companies, he litigates and advises on matters involving confidentiality and non-compete agreements, trade secret misappropriation, union activities and unfair labor practices, whistle-blowing, discrimination, and wage and hour laws. He has successfully litigated labor and employment matters as lead counsel in over a dozen states and throughout the Southeast, including a variety of class and collective action claims. Seth regularly provides counsel to clients engaged in IT and software based business consulting, heavy equipment manufacturing, construction, forest products manufacturing, and nuclear and electric utilities. In addition to his experience before trial courts, Seth has extensive experience before appellate courts and has represented clients in more than fifty labor arbitrations.
Employment and Restrictive Covenant Matters:
- On behalf of steel products distributor and sales candidate, obtained hearing and consent injunction within 8 days of initiating action to invalidate non-compete on way to achieving favorable settlement (January 2016).
- Following multiple hearings in pursuit of trade secrets misappropriation claim against former programmer and direct competitor of SAAS client, obtained permanent injunctive relief against both defendants prohibiting use of client trade secrets and mandatory purge of data from defendant’s systems (August 2015).
- On behalf of heating and cooling system manufacturer, utilized forensic data recovery to demonstrate trade secrets misappropriation by defecting product engineer; prior to suit, achieved termination of engineer from employment by competitor and purge of data from competitor’s computer systems (February, 2015).
- On behalf of defendant and prior to any preliminary injunction hearing, negotiated resolution of action in financial services industry alleging trade secret misappropriation, breach of fiduciary duty of loyalty, breach of customer non-solicit contract and tortious interference with business relations (September, 2014).
- Obtained summary judgment on behalf of employer in suit alleging wrongful discharge and harassment based on race and age in violation of Title VII and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act. George Harvey v. Georgia-Pacific, LLC, 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 124006 (W.D. Ark., Sept. 5, 2014).
- Utilized forensic data recovery to successfully negotiate pre-suit resolution of trade secrets misappropriation dispute within printing industry (Jan. 2014).
- In claims asserting division-wide discriminatory business practices towards customers, obtained dismissal on the merits and without payment of any settlement money; Woodward v. Delta Life Ins. Co. (N.D. Ga., Nov. 2013).
- Within a six month period and without payment of any settlement money, obtained dismissal of four separate harassment and discrimination lawsuits on behalf of a regional life insurance provider. Bush v. Delta Life Ins. Co. (S.D. Ga., Jan. 2013) (age discrimination); White v. Delta Life Ins. Co. (S.D. Ga., Jan. 2013) (same); Davis v. Delta Life Ins. Co. (M.D. Ga., Sept. 2012) (sexual harassment and retaliation); Collins v. Delta Life Ins. Co. (M.D. Ga., Aug. 2012) (same).
- In misappropriation of trade secrets action, obtained order enjoining former sales employee from contacting over 300 customers for one year and permitting inspection and purging of competitor’s hard drives. Obtained hearing within five business days of filing. East Coast Fire Protection, Inc. v. Love (Cherokee County Sup. Ct., March 2010).
- Successfully defended and presented oral arguments before Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals on behalf of retail chain accused of sexual harassment and tort of outrage. Anderson v. Family Dollar Stores of Arkansas, Inc., 579 F.3d 858 (8th Cir. 2009).
- Obtained summary judgment and an award of attorney fees in defending a forest products company against former manager’s claims of discriminatory discharge. Brady v. Georgia Pacific Corp., 2009 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 67725 (N.D. Miss. Aug. 4, 2009).
- Obtained summary judgment as lead counsel in defending multiple claims of discriminatory discharge and violations of Family Medical Leave Act. Taylor v. Georgia Pacific, LLC, 2009 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 25766 (W.D. Ark. March 31, 2008).
- Obtained summary judgment and successfully defended Canada-based wood products company before Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals against claims of disability discrimination based on HIV status and alcoholism. Stewart v. Domtar Industries, Inc., 2007 U.S. App. LEXIS 7014 (8th Cir. March 23, 2007).
- Trial counsel for one of North America’s largest insurance adjusting companies while defending class action involving multi-million dollar claims for fraud and violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act.
- Lead counsel in successfully defending largest privately-held forest products company in the United States against dozens of employment claims of all types throughout the Southeast.
Traditional Labor Law Matters:
- Served as lead negotiator for dairy cooperative during negotiations preceding re-designed production model, work schedule and capital improvements. (January 2016)
- Successfully managed Union avoidance campaign on behalf of southeastern paper manufacturer under NLRB quickie election rules (September, 2015)
- Lead negotiator on behalf of federal security contractor in bargaining labor agreement with significant changes to health and welfare contribution methods under the Affordable Care Act and Service Contract Act.
- Successfully defended and presented oral arguments on behalf of multiple energy companies before D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals in overturning various unfair labor practice findings by the NLRB regarding changes to retiree benefits. Southern Nuclear Operating Co., et al v. NLRB, 254 F.3d 1350 (D.C. Cir. 2008).
- Successfully arbitrated more than 50 labor disputes (with 10 consecutive victories for a single client), including disputes involving replacement of workers with robot technology and numerous disputes involving discipline or discharge of employees for violation of substance abuse policies. See, e.g., 2007 AAA LEXIS 395 (May 10, 2007) (upholding discharge for positive alcohol test); 123 Lab. Arb. Rep. 686 (Jan. 17, 2007) (upholding discharge for positive cocaine test); 118 Lab. Arb. Rep. 752 (March 25, 2003) (upholding abstinence requirement due to alcohol abuse).
- Lead counsel on behalf of forests products company in obtaining NLRB recommendation for union withdrawal of unfair labor practice charge alleging that over 200 contracts were unlawful under the National Labor Relations Act.
- Regularly advises regional nuclear power company and federal security contractor in employment law disputes and traditional labor issues, including strike preparation, collective bargaining agreement disputes and arbitrations.
Publications and Speaking Engagements
- Panel Presenter: “What Do Arbitrators Like?” 2015 Louisiana-Mississippi Labor-Management Conference (July, 2015)
- Co-Presenter: “Employee Discipline,” HR Steps for Success Seminar Series (July, 2015),
- Co-Presenter: “Restrictive Covenants for Corporate Lawyers” (June 2015)
- Panel Presenter: “The Long Arm of Labor,” Quickie Elections and the Expansion of Section 7 Rights, Rule of Law Defense Fund Senior Staff Policy Retreat (May, 2015)
- Guest Speaker: “Oral Arguments and Advocacy,” Georgia State University School of Law, Lawyering Foundations Program (April, 2015)
- Chief Editor: Georgia Human Resources Manual, A Guide to Georgia and Federal Employment Laws and Regulations, American Chamber of Commerce Resources (2006–2015 editions)
- Attorney Instructor: Emory University School of Law Trial Techniques Program (2010–2015)
- Panelist: “The Current State of Employment Discrimination,” Emory University School of Law (February, 2014)
- Presenter: “Hiring Competitors’ Employees,” Employment Law Seminar (October, 2012)
Professional and Community Involvement
- Federal Bar Association
- Arkansas Bar Association
- Texas Bar Association
- State Bar of Georgia (Trial Practice and Employment Law Sections)
- Atlanta Bar Association
- Atlanta Lawyer's Club
Rankings and Recognition
- Selected as a Rising Star in Labor & Employment by Law & Politics and Atlanta Magazine (2009-2012).
- Partner, Troutman Sanders LLP, 2007-present
- Associate, Troutman Sanders LLP, 2001-2006
- Senior Law Clerk, United States District Court for the Western District of Arkansas, 1997-2001
- University of Arkansas, J.D., 1997
Member, Board of Advocates
Co-champion, William H. Sutton Trial Advocacy Competition
Member, National Trial Advocacy Team
- University of Arkansas, B.A., 1994
Supreme Court of the United States
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
District of Columbia Circuit Court of Appeals
U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Georgia
U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia
U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Georgia
U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas
U.S. District Court for the Western District of Arkansas
Arkansas Court of Appeals
Arkansas Supreme Court
Georgia Court of Appeals
Supreme Court of Georgia
Texas Court of Appeals
Texas Supreme Court